mHealth Technologies for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

mHealth is an abbreviation for mobile health, a term used for the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices. This review examines the evidence regarding the benefits, uptake and operationalisation of mHealth technologies (including short messaging services (SMS), mobile apps and wearable devices) for chronic disease management and prevention.

The review found mHealth interventions can promote significant improvements in glycaemic control (for diabetes patients), as well as in physical activity, weight loss and smoking cessation, with the strongest evidence for SMS. Benefits appeared to be mediated by the characteristics of both the intervention and the patient population. Integrating mHealth technologies into healthcare as part of a service rather than a standalone system was as an important marker of success.

mHealth Technologies for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management;, 2015. L Laranjo, A Lau, B Oldenburg, E Gabarron, A O'Neill et al. Sax Institute.

Dementia in My Family - website

Alzheimer's Australia has launched a new website specifically for young people dealing with Dementia in a family member.

Dementia in My Family provides age-specific information for children in several age-groups from pre-schoolers (with an animated story) to late teens (who are provided with more complex information and links to counselling services). It also has a page for adults on how to talk to children about Dementia. There are also some very useful links to websites, online books, fact sheets and contacts.

Preventive care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Final report

Preventive care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Final report from the Menzies School of Health Research provides up-to date and comprehensive data on the quality of preventive care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 137 primary health centres across Australia.

Incorporating perspectives from a wide range of stakeholders on priority evidence-practice gaps and barriers, enablers and strategies for achieving improvement it should be useful for stimulating discussion and action.

The Final Report

Accompanying Data Supplement

Key Messages

Health Promotion Journal of Australia Virtual Issue - Looking Back, Looking Forward - 30 years of the Ottawa Charter

In 1986, a new document began to be circulated through health professional networks, and in particular health education circles. It came to be called the 'Ottawa Charter', because its guiding principles were the result of an international conference held in Ottawa, Canada.

The succinct articulation of the themes around healthy public policy, healthy environments and reorienting health systems towards prevention helped re-frame the classic health education approach to embrace a broader health promotion approach including the social determinants of health.

This virtual issue of the Health Promotion journal revisits many of the classic articles produced during the 30 years of the Ottawa Charter.


What is a health promotion campaign? (1991)

Advocacy for health: revisiting the role of health promotion (2012)

Framework and tools for planning and evaluating community participation, collaborative partnerships and equity in health promotion (2008)

Using evidence in health promotion in local government: contextual realities and opportunities (2013)

The role of Health Impact Assessment in promoting population health and health equity (2009)

The case of national health promotion policy in Australia: where to now? (2016)

Global trade and health promotion (2007)

The role of health promotion: between global thinking and local action (2006)

Reflections on the framing of 'health equity' in the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework: a cause for celebration or concern? (2014)

Forming, managing and sustaining alliances for health promotion (2005)

Urban design and health: progress to date and future challenges (2014)

An Indigenous model of health promotion (2004)

Reducing discharge against medical advice in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander patients

An issues brief from the Deeble Institute (AHHA) looks at the role of Aboriginal Health Workers and Liaison Officers in trying to reduce instances of self-discharge, particularly in rural and remote communities.

An evidence-based approach to reducing discharge against medical advice amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients by Caitlin Shaw, makes a number of recommendations, including:

* Improving cultural competency training and cultural safety frameworks in hospitals

* Developing a nationally recognised scope of practice for Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) and Aboriginal Liaison Officers (ALOs)

* Developing more flexible community-based care models to provide culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

Primary health care-based programmes targeting potentially avoidable hospitalisations in vulnerable groups with chronic disease

Reductions in potentially avoidable hospitalisations (PAHs) and emergency department (ED) presentations are important health care policy benchmarks and represent potential for improved health outcomes, efficiency and cost savings. This research aimed to examine the outcomes of interventions targeting reductions in PAHs and/or avoidable ED presentations among people with chronic disease. The main focus was on the role of primary health care and programmes that targeted specific vulnerable populations, including Indigenous Australians, rural and remote residents and those living in socioeconomic disadvantage.

Key findings

Trends in PAH and ED presentation rates

* PAH rates are high, but mostly stable for chronic and acute conditions in the general population, but they have increased for vaccine-preventable conditions
* PAHs are higher in vulnerable populations (Indigenous Australians, rural/remote residents, socioeconomically disadvantaged, elderly)
* Chronic diseases account for more than half of all PAHs, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
* Despite widespread implementation of chronic disease management programmes, there is no statistically significant reduction in the rates of PAH and ED presentation.

Overview of programmes to reduce PAHs and ED presentations
* Key predictors of PAHs, ED presentations and readmissions include: older age, low socioeconomic status, ethnicity, rurality, comorbidities, mental illness and substance use and being widowed or separated
* Elements of successful programmes are largely context- and condition-specific as PAH rates vary according to different chronic conditions and disease severity; therefore, flexibility in approaches is needed

Primary health care-based interventions that showed significant reductions in rates of PAH and ED presentations included:
* Continuity of GP care (condition-dependent)
* GP management plan with team care arrangement (e.g., diabetes)
* Multidisciplinary team care, with gerontologist and integrated social care for the elderly; and with care coordinators to liaise with GPs, hospital and other services
* Comprehensive, flexible vertical and horizontal integration of primary health care with hospital and community-based services
* Home care for socioeconomically disadvantaged and the elderly
* For Indigenous Australians, evidence was highly variable and condition-specific, often related to multiple disadvantage (remoteness, advanced illness, low socioeconomic status and poor health literacy). Programmes that are culturally appropriate and integrated across sectors are more likely to reduce PAHs
* For rural/remote residents, flexible design and implementation to address problems of access and social isolation are more effective
* Cost of accessing care, multimorbidity and low literacy are key barriers for in low socioeconomic situations
* Flexible, individualised approaches, nurse coordinator involvement and interventions that involve integration across primary health care, acute and community care may influence the rates of PAH.

For more detail see the Summary and the Full report

Alzheimer's: Risk, Diagnosis, Therapy & Treatment and Caregiving

To raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease, Wiley Online has created a free research collection focusing on its diagnosis and treatment. The collection comprises 15 freely available articles.

Alzheimer's: Risk | Diagnosis | Therapy & Treatment | Caregiving

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2014-15 (AIHW)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new report and web updates on 15 June, 2016:

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2014-15

* In 2014-15, around 850 alcohol and other drug treatment services provided just over 170,000 treatment episodes to around 115,000 clients.
* The top 4 drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (38% of treatment episodes), cannabis (24%), amphetamines (20%) and heroin (6%).
* The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has continued to increase over the last 10 years, from 11% of treatment episodes in 2005-06 to 20% in 2014-15.
* The median age of clients in AOD treatment services is increasing, 33 years in 2014-15, up from 31 in 2005-06.

Media release: 1 in 200 Australians seek treatment for alcohol and other drugs

Report: Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2014-15

Web pages: Alcohol and other drugs data

Nursing and midwifery workforce 2015 (AIHW)

Nursing and midwifery workforce 2015 outlines the workforce characteristics of nurses and midwives in 2015. The total number of all nurses and midwives registered in Australia increased from 330,680 in 2011 to 360,008 in 2015 (8.9%).

In 2015, 91.9% of all registered nurses and midwives were in the nursing and midwifery workforce (331,015). Of these, 8,930 were looking for work in nursing and midwifery, down from 9,110 in 2014. In 2015, the overall supply of employed nurses and midwives was 1,138 full-time equivalents or FTEs for every 100,000 people. This compares with the figure of 1,107 FTEs per 100,000 in 2011. In 2011 and 2015, there were more employed nurses and midwives in the 50-54 year age group than any other age group. The proportion aged 50 and over grew from 38.3% in 2011 to 39.0% in 2015. The proportion in 2014 was 39.4%.

View web page: Nursing and midwifery workforce 2015

View graphic: Nurses and midwives 2015